Much hype and anticipation has been given to this game and rightfully so, since 2010 both Alabama and Florida State have won 86 and 78 of their games, respectively. Each team comes in ranked in the top three, making this the greatest week one matchup ever. What we’re dealing with here, is five of the last eight national champions clashing to see who’s king of the ring; or field, what have you. You have to go back to 1986; which was the last time teams ranked this high opened the season when #1 Oklahoma faced off against #4 UCLA.
Coming off a season in which he passed for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns, reigning ACC Rookie of the Year, Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois, looks to build off that success in his second year under center. In his corner, wide receivers Nyqwan Murray and Auden Tate look to replace Travis Rudolph; the ‘Noles leading receiver from last year. Murray averaged over 16 yards per reception, and can score every time he touches the ball. His 92-yard touchdown catch and run against Michigan in lasts years Orange Bowl is the longest in bowl history. Junior running back Jacques Patrick gets the first crack at replacing Dalvin Cook, Florida State’s all-time leading rusher. In his relief of Cook, Patrick rushed for 350 yards and 4 touchdowns
Passing for 2,780 yards; rushing for another 954, Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts finished 2016 with 36 total touchdowns (23 passing 13 rushing) and SEC Player of the Year honors. Wide receiver Calvin Ridley saw his receiving numbers take a dip; 769 last year compared to 1,045 yards in 2015, and looks to bounce back. That could be due to Hurts being only a true freshman last season. Running backs Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough return for the ‘Tide. Both, are big bruising backs and will try to wear down the Florida State defense.
Everyone loves a good knockout, but it’s the blows to the body that wear down your opponent. Each team possess talented defenses that can take the wind out of any sails. Derwin James returns after missing all but two games last year. His versatility is something the ‘Tide must prepare for. You’ll see him lined up next to junior cornerback Tarvarus McFadden or talented standout defensive end Josh Sweat on the line. ‘Bama boast two of the best safeties in the country in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Ronnie Harrison, but will their presence be enough to supplement the loss of 6 starters from last year’s team?
The last time these teams met, in 2007, Florida State pulled out the victory 21-14, but Alabama holds the series lead 2-1-1. Wither your talking Ali vs. Frazier, New England vs Atlanta, Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader or Foreman vs Ali; just remember when your talking about the greatest of all time don’t forget to mention #3 Florida State vs. #1 Alabama. Kickoff starts 8pm September 2nd.